Biden’s planned trip to Saudi Arabia has already met with criticism in the country. It has now become known that the US President will also meet there with the controversial Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
According to the White House, US President Joe Biden will also meet controversial Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman during his upcoming trip to Saudi Arabia.
During the visit, there will be “a bilateral meeting between Biden and King Salman and his leadership team,” said John Kirby, Communications Director of the National Security Council in the White House. Bin Salman is part of this team. “So the President will certainly meet the Crown Prince as part of this larger bilateral talk.” Biden will travel first to Israel and then to Saudi Arabia next week.
Biden’s forthcoming visit to Saudi Arabia is causing criticism in the United States. Traditionally a close US ally, Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s top oil exporters. However, Biden had previously criticized human rights abuses in the kingdom. In November 2019, Biden announced during the presidential election campaign that the Saudi leadership would “pay a price” for the killing of the government-critical journalist Jamal Khashoggi and become an “outcast”.
According to US intelligence services, the Saudi crown prince approved the operation to capture or kill Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October 2018. After Biden took office, the US government imposed sanctions on Saudi Arabia in February 2020, but Bin Salman was spared.
Kirby said Biden wanted the trip to “deepen our economic, political and security integration across the Middle East.” This also benefits the Americans and US national security. The US President’s trip has been announced for August 13-16.